Wednesday, October 3, 2012
ORNL in the News

UT Science Forums: Giannone discusses the future of biofuels

(Tennessee Today) Richard Giannone, a bioanalytical mass spectrometrist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has worked with a team to develop biofuels for the past several years. He’ll be discussing the future of biofuel production at this week’s Science Forum...10/2

'Star Trek' fusion impulse engine in the works

(CNET) The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Aerophysics Research Center, NASA, Boeing, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are collaborating on a project to produce nuclear fusion impulse rocket engines. It's no warp drive, but it would get us around the galaxy a lot quicker than current technologies...10/2

Jeff Binder promoted to associate lab director at ORNL, overseeing nuclear science and engineering

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Jeff Binder has been promoted to associate lab director for Nuclear Science and Engineering at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has held that position on an interim basis since last November...10/2


Decline in U.S. birth rates slows

(AP) U.S. births fell for the fourth year in a row, the government reported Wednesday, with experts calling it more proof that the weak economy has continued to dampen enthusiasm for having children...10/3


Y-12 uranium project's safety, equipment issues force redesign; $500M already spent

(Knoxville News Sentinel) ...At a federal safety board hearing Tuesday in Knoxville, officials at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant acknowledged that the UPF will have to be redesigned because all the equipment needed to process bomb-grade uranium and conduct other related activities won't fit into the 340,000-square-foot building as previously envisioned...10/2

B&W Y-12 to terminate WSI contract

(Oak Ridger) Following the recommendation from the National Nuclear Security Administration that WSI Oak Ridge’s contract for security services be terminated, B&W Y-12 will terminate WSI Oak Ridge’s contract and take direct responsibility for security at the Y-12 National Security Complex...10/2

East Tennessee

Carson-Newman looking into body-farming

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Jefferson City liberal-arts college will announce more details today about its proposal to turn seven acres of rural land in the New Market community into a site dedicated to the study of human and animal decay...10/2

State and Regional

Inside the World's First Manmade Batcave Built For Wild Bats

(Popular Science) Up a crunchy gravel road not far from the Kentucky line, buried in a hillside a few steps from a huge limestone cave network, an audacious experiment is about to take place. The first-ever artificial cave for hibernating bats, built specifically to protect the animals from a debilitating fungal disease, is almost ready to welcome its first residents...9/14

energy & science policy

Restricting nuclear power has little effect on the cost of climate policies, study says

(PhysOrg) By applying a global energy-economy computer simulation that fully captures the competition between alternative power supply technologies, a team of scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the University of Dayton, Ohio, analyzed trade-offs between nuclear and climate policies...10/1

science & technology

Half of Great Barrier Reef coral lost in last 27 years

(BBC News) Australia's Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half its coral cover in the past 27 years, a new study shows...10/2

US grants licence for uranium laser enrichment

(Nature) The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission this week granted a licence to allow construction of a plant that uses a controversial uranium enrichment process — one that critics fear could pose a serious nuclear-proliferation risk...9/28

World's largest laser misses nuclear fusion deadline

(New Scientist) Bad news for star power. The world's largest laser has missed a deadline that was key to its goal of producing safe, clean energy via nuclear fusion, the same process that powers the sun...10/2

Scientists: Let's Make the Next Space Exploration Probe a Boat

(The Atlantic) ...a group of scientists, reports, is proposing a new mission to explore Titan -- this time by way of a floating probe that would land on one of the moon's many lakes...10/2

Scientist, Candidate and Planet Earth’s Lifeguard

(NY Times) Barry Commoner, a founder of modern ecology and one of its most provocative thinkers and mobilizers in making environmentalism a people’s political cause, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 95 and lived in Brooklyn Heights...10/1

Other Stories

Illegal Logging Booms as Demand for Wood Grows

(Scientific American) International illegal logging activity is worth an estimated $30 billion to $100 billion annually, at least double the value estimated just months ago, the U.N. Environment Programme and the international police organization Interpol have found...10/2